Photos show ramped-up troops and barriers locking down Washington, DC, ahead of Biden's inauguration
Connor PerrettJan 18, 2021, 02:23 IST
At a press conference with DC and federal officials Friday, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced new security measures, saying the city found itself in "uncharted waters."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned of armed protests in DC and in state capitols across the US this week, promoting heightened security nationwide.
In a briefing with Vice President Mike Pence last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the agency saw an "extensive amount of concerning online chatter" leading to the enhanced security.
On January 13, Bowser requested that a National Special Security Event be declared earlier than is typical for a presidential inauguration.
Following the January 6 insurrection, a seven-foot, non-scalable fence was added around the Capitol Hill complex. Barbed wire sits atop the fence, providing an additional barrier to entry to the grounds.
Over 20,000 troops in total will be deployed in the nation's capital for the January 20 inauguration. That's more than the number of troops currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
Road traffic in much of Washington has been halted as officials made the unprecedented move to close streets through Thursday. Four major bridges between Virginia and DC will also be closed to all traffic for 48 hours.
The closures are centered around downtown DC and around Capitol Hill, the Lincoln Memorial, Union Station, the National Mall, and the White House.
Parts of Washington looked like a war zone days before the inauguration as members of the National Guard patrolled the city in Humvees.
On Friday, the National Park Service closed the National Mall and other US landmarks in DC to visitors through at least January 21. During typical years, onlookers gather on the National Mall to watch a new president be inaugurated.
Much of the inauguration was already expected to be held virtually due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic, but the insurrection prompted heightened security in DC. A rehearsal was pushed from Sunday to Monday, and Biden's planned Amtrak ride from Delaware was canceled.
President-elect Biden plans to be sworn in on the steps of the Capitol, as is customary. US flags can be seen hanging from the building ahead of Biden's swearing-in.
Airbnb canceled and blocked all Washington, DC, reservations during the week of the inauguration in an effort to discourage people from traveling there for the inauguration.
Because of the pandemic and the insurrection, the DC mayor has urged Americans to stay home and out of DC during the inauguration.